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Early Report: Jewelers’ Holiday Season On Track To Smash All Previous Records |  November 30, 2021 (2 comments)


Merrick, NY—2020 was a year for the record books in the jewelry industry. But if early indicators are on point, 2021 is going to smash those records to bits. In the first Centurion Holiday Sales Success Index for the 2021 season, 81% of respondents reported sales gains, with two thirds already reporting sales of more than 10% over last year’s record-breaking totals. Meanwhile, industry analyst Edahn Golan predicts U.S. holiday jewelry sales will rise 40%-42% in the November-December period with annual jewelry sales rising a staggering 51%-53% year-on-year. Annual jewelry sales are expected to total $94 to $95.3 billion in 2021, he says.

That’s not just good, that’s stratospheric territory. It’s not surprising, though, as all the indicators were there before the start of the season. A study of 1,504 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65 conducted in late September by market research firm Provoke Insights found that more than 10% of consumers are buying jewelry and watches, up slightly from earlier this year. Fine jewelry sales increased 1% from January to September 2021, and luxury watch sales increased 3%. 11% of respondents purchased jewelry or watches in the month prior to the survey.

Related: Consumers Value “Investment” Purchases, 43% Ready To Splurge This Year

How were your sales for the full months of October and November (to date), compared to last year?

The Provoke survey turned up some interesting findings. Not surprisingly, affluent, educated consumers are likely to buy luxury jewelry and watches—but so are those who are neither. 

Some key demographics of jewelry buyers in the Provoke survey: 

Although retailers were advised to start their holiday season in early October, jewelers weren't in a particular rush to do so. When asked whether they started a holiday push early at all or stuck to their normal schedule, better jewelers were pretty evenly divided:

One thing that doesn’t seem to help jewelers overall is Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday. While consumers in general responded very well to the day—some even consider it a responsibility to support local merchants—Centurion survey respondents said “meh.”

This article said Peaced Together, a fashion/craft jewelry and home décor store in Johnstown, PA, saw a steady stream of customers on Small Business Saturday. But only 9% of luxury jewelers responding to the Centurion survey credited the day for driving more traffic than they’d have gotten anyway (green bar). 72% said it didn’t add anything to their sales (blue bar), and 18% said they weren’t sure (yellow bar):

Meanwhile, a post-Thanksgiving report from Retail Dive identified the winners and losers of the weekend: winners were Thanksgiving Day not being a shopping day, curbside pickup, and installment financing, otherwise known as buy now/pay later. What didn’t happen this year was a lot of discounting (good for retailers, not so much for bargain-hunting consumers). Supply chain issues also continue to dog retailers.

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Comments (2):

Why do most surveys compare 2020 sales and $ stats and directions, products, customer references ( age, income brackets, geo—base, education levels achieved and $ stats to 2020 when last years stats were very dissapointing. Larger karat size diamonds sold to those who finally decided to make a commitment, were making higher incomes ( maybe the result of both partners employment income), didn’t spend $ due to the pandemic shut-down and hold-back and the profile of the independent retailer. The higher the status and image of the Guild level retailer, the better and higher the average ticket sale but to a more exclusive and smaller audience. More of the smaller Mom and Pop, brick and mortar independent stores have closed and the giant retail chains closed more stores. The distribution and mass marketing retail has been driven by perceived large discounts but mostly on brands that weren’t committed to smaller independent retailers. Jewelry products using super low labor cost production from large cheap labor countries have replaced much of the “made in America” products.  If you do your homework you’ll see that profit is what drove sales and the supply chain has changed over the past few years and achieved unit sales volume and the fact that Costco has committed to becoming a diamond sales leader and the highest sales volume seller in the retail jewelry industry. The continuing pattern is that the bigger retailers supported by the biggest suppliers downgrading their product quality while lowering their production costs are joined in becoming the fewer but much bigger retail channels in the jewelry industry. I’ve been in our industry of over half a century, studied and lived it 24/7 and know and discuss what is going on. The developing changes will divide the industry going forward. Our informers to the retailers need to ask the right questions of the right people. I’m available to discuss this and other watch and jewelry related issues with you, just contact me. The more you know, the better it is.

By Richard Kalina on Dec 1st, 2021 at 2:53pm

Richard, your points are well taken. 2020 is notable because when the pandemic hit, nobody expected the industry to do well, let alone as staggeringly well as it did. But in general, not just in jewelry, we are only on the cusp of what will be a major paradigm shift in shopping behaviors and other societal shifts driven by the pandemic. It’s likely to be at least five years before we can start to categorize what some of those permanent shifts are, for a variety of reasons: cultural, economic, and demographic. It should be noted that the pandemic-driven shifts also are happening at a key moment when the last wave of the Boomer generation is nearing retirement.
To your point about brick and mortar independent stores closing, the overwhelming majority of those closures are not due to finances. JBT stats consistently have shown very few bankruptcies among retail jewelers closing. The majority of independent jewelry store closings are due to owner retirements with nobody to take over the business. So that will be a trend to watch, if the up and coming generation wants to go into the independent jewelry business or not.
As for “Made in America,” whether it’s jewelry or any other product category, it’s ultimately up to the consumer. The vast majority of American consumers long ago voted with their wallets for doorbuster sales and cheap prices, generally not compatible with American labor costs. If consumers decide they’re willing to spend more to have a product made here, that will change. If they still want to pay as little as possible for consumer goods, it won’t. The luxury market is somewhat different and always has been. Those consumers are willing to pay extra for quality and sustainability.

By Hedda on Dec 3rd, 2021 at 5:07pm

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